The Panama Papers didn’t just unveil where 140 political figures —
including 12 current of former heads of states — hide their cash.
It is also bringing about a major sea change in how governments are tackling tax avoidance and evasion after public outcry — some of the biggest economies in the European Union are banding together to share information.
The Panama Papers revelation already claimed its first victim — Iceland’s
Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson — after thousands of people marched in protest of his position in power after the leaked documents linked him to an offshore company that apparently posed a conflict of interest.
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron admitted he should have handled scrutiny of his family’s tax arrangements better and promised to learn the lessons after his father was included in Panama Papers.
Now, five of the biggest economies in the European Union — UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain — are banding together to tackle tax avoidance and evasion by agreeing to share information on “secret owners of businesses and trusts,” says the BBC.
The report, citing Treasury officials, said that by creating a data exchange between these five countries, it will make it harder for businesses and rich individuals to avoid paying correct taxes under each jurisdiction.
The information swap also means that the countries will all share previously “secret tax information between countries such as America, Saudi Arabia and China.”
The group of five countries is allegedly looking to get other G20 countries to do the same but the report says its unlikely others will follow suit.
This report comes soon after UK Chancellor George Osborne announced that Britain will make register of beneficial ownership public available to the public.
“Today we deal another hammer blow against those who hide their illegal tax evasion in the dark corners of the financial system,” said Osborne said at the annual International Monetary Fund spring meeting in the US.
“Britain will work with our major European partners to find out who really owns the secretive shell companies and trusts that have been used as conduits for evading tax, laundering money and benefiting from corruption.”
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